LITERARY LIFE 239
Or, in one of his best-known poems. Drinking Alone under the Moon:
A pot of wine amidst the flowers,
Alone I drink sans company.
The moon I invite as drinking friend,
And with my shadow we are three.
The moon, I see, she does not drink,
My shadow only follows me:
I'll keep them company a while,
For spring's the time for gayety.
I sing: the moon she swings her head; I dance: my shadow swells and sways. We sport together while awake, While drunk, we all go our own ways. An eternal, speechless trio then, Till in the clouds we meet again!
This is more than a metaphor: it is a poetic faith of union with nature, which makes life itself pulsate with human emotions.
The expression of this pantheism or fellowship with nature is best illustrated in Tu Fu's Quatrains on Sundry Moods, showing successively a humanizing of nature, a tender feeling for its mishaps, a sheer delight in its contact, and finally a complete union with it. So goes the first stanza:
I see the traveller's unwaking sorrow. The vagabond spring's come in a clatter. Too profusely rich are the flowers, Too garrulous the parrots* chatter.
The words "vagabond," "garrulous," and "chatter" here indirectly invest the spring and the parrots with a human quality. Then he lodges a complaint against the brutal winds of last night, which "bullied" the peach and pear trees in his yard:
My hand-planted pear trees are not orphans! The old man's low walls are like their house! But the spring wind thought fit to bully them, Last night it broke some of their boughs!